Bad rhymes.

Permit me to annoy you with a silly eccentricity of mine: I don’t like it when poets and songwriters use rhymes that don’t, as it were, rhyme. By this, I mean rhyming  “name” with “lane”, or “town” with “around”, for example. (Incidentally, H. P. Lovecraft also complained about this in his essay “The Allowable Rhyme”)

I’m not necessarily saying this is wrong–who determines what is “wrong” in art, after all–but it does slightly irritate me. I suppose this is because the first time I ever paid attention to rhyming was when reading/listening to W.S. Gilbert’s lyrics and poems and he never (well, hardly ever) tried to rhyme things that didn’t actually rhyme.

Now, admittedly, I quite enjoy Warren Zevon‘s lyrics as well, and he committed this crime against rhyme quite often–probably at least once every song. So, I mean, I try not to be closed-minded about it. But at the same time, I think when people start deciding its okay to rhyme “mike” with “right” or some such, it seems to take the challenge out of it a little, maybe.

But then, I’m not a poet or songwriter, so I realize I’m really not in a position to make the rules on this.

(As a related aside, I did once think that it when be interesting if you used words like “lane” and “name” in poetry if they were incorporated into the structure of the poem itself–e.g., in a typical ABAB rhyme scheme, you could have all the A’s be rhymes and all the B’s be things like “lane” and “name”.)


  1. Oh, gosh, I hope I didn't offend you. I was actually reminded of this subject by a line in Tom Lehrer's song "The Folk Song army" where he pokes fun at this. poems are quite good; if you have violated these "rules", it certainly hasn't bothered me at all.Like I said, I can think of lots of songs and poems that I like where they do this; it's just sort of an irrational thing on my part.

  2. LOL, not offended at all. I understand how irritating it can be. I kind of get annoyed when people feel they need to rhyme every dang line.I most likely have broken the rules, because I really don't follow any rules regarding the poetic form.Maybe I should work on that. : )

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